Auto Repair – Power Windows


When it comes to auto repair for power windows a little history might help first.

Did you know that the first power window dates back to the 1940’s? Packard created the first power window when it introduced its hydraulic window in the Packard 180 series car. Ford was right on their heels in 1941 when it released its hydro-electric system. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine not having power windows as an option in modern day cars. Whether it’s a one press roll down to enjoy a crisp spring breeze or rolling a sunroof back to feel the warming rays of the sun on your face, power windows provide a feature and convenience that most of us would sorely miss!

So what do you do when power windows start to act up?

Picture a hot summer day while you are driving around Reno and Sparks, and it’s getting warm in the car, so you decide to save gas by rolling down the windows instead of turning on your A/C. All of a sudden your window starts making a dreaded squeaking noise and inching down at a snail’s pace. Oh no! Now you don’t even know if it will go back up! Does this situation sound familiar?
When this happens, most of us don’t understand what makes a window go up and down in a car, let alone how to fix it. We just assume that when we press the button, the window will rise and fall at our whim. Luckily, Wayne’s Automotive Center is here to enlighten you and deal with the most common auto repair problems regarding power windows. When it comes to auto repair, Wayne’s can handle even the complicated issues. Here some typical causes of power window failure:

  • Worn out window regulator (also called a window track)
  • Broken or failing motor
  • Cable pulley malfunction
  • Faulty window switch

So how does this all work to raise and lower my window?

Inside your door is a metal track (window regulator) bolted to the inside of your door. The window regulator operates by taking the rotational direction of your motor and turning that energy into an up and down direction for your window. Also, the modern power window is typically raised and lowered like a bridge using a cable-pulley system. The electric motor draws the cable through a pulley to bring the window up or lower it down. When you press the switch, it completes an electrical circuit to the power window motor that starts the process. Typically, these systems are reliable, but from time to time, parts of the system can wear out, causing issues.

How to diagnosis where the power window system is failing?

First, ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. Are all the windows failing at once?

If all the windows are failing at once, this could be a sign that a fuse is faulty in your electrical system. Replacing a fuse is an easy task that most people can do on their own. The hard part is identifying where the fuse box is and which fuse controls the windows. Most owner’s manuals have a description of these locations. Be careful about just pulling any old fuse in your fuse box. Some fuses can reset the computer of your car which can make it drive roughly for a short period. Also, you may end up resetting all your favorite programmed radio stations. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, Wayne’s Automotive Center are experts in auto repair and can quickly do this for you.

Quick Tip: Many power window systems in modern cars have a driver lockout switch. This switch allows the driver to cut power to all the windows except the driver window. The lock switch can be a convenient feature when the kids decide to have a window up and down race in the back seat. It seems simple, but this might be something to check before going further as accidents sometimes enable it. Don’t worry, if you bring your car into Wayne’s Automotive Center for auto repair and it turns out to be your window lock switch, we flip the switch and get you back on the road in a hurry.

2. Is only one window is not working correctly?

Typically, if one window is experiencing problems and the other windows are working correctly, it is usually not a fuse problem. Issues with one window may indicate that there is a problem with the window motor, window regulator, or a door switch has failed.

When diagnosing an issue with a single window these signs might help you zero in on the problem. Press the switch, and if there is no sound it is probably one of two things:

  • Bad Power Window Motor
  • Faulty Switch

In your manual, there may be a schematic of your electrical system you can use to test the voltage. You would also need a voltmeter to assist you with the troubleshooting. You would start at the fuse panel and follow the electrical wiring to the door switch. After testing the fuse panel, the door switch, you could move on to check the window motor. Of course, to examine the door switch and window motor you will need to access the inside of the door. You will have to remove the panel covering the door to access to those areas. What you are hoping to find is some corroded or broken connection that is causing a break in the electrical circuit. Replacing the wiring or connection will allow the electricity to flow again, thus fixing the window. As you can imagine, these types of auto repairs can be complicated and left to the professionals like Wayne’s Automotive Center.

Removing a door panel

If you can hear the window motor run but the window does not move, it can mean that the window regulator is bad. Again, to access the window regulator, you will need to remove the door panel.

Removing a door panel involves dealing with a variety of temporary and permanent fasteners. To start, you would remove the door handles and door pulls. The outer edge of the door panel is secured by temporary fasteners that may break when removing the door panel. The temporary door fasteners are usually intended for one-time use, so this is normal. Gently pry the door panel off, without breaking the rivets. If rivets break, you can find replacement parts at most local auto parts stores. Now that the door panel is off, you can remove the weather sheeting. You’ll have to replace this weather sheeting when done.

3. Does the window work but moves slowly?

Every car window has gaskets that keep the wind and rain out of the car. When your window is working but painfully moves up or down, you should check the window gaskets. If gaskets wear out or tear, they can prevent proper operation. Sometimes a loose gasket can be easily fixed with weatherstrip adhesive. Weatherstrip adhesive is available at most auto part stores. Super glue can also be used to repair torn gaskets.

Replacing a gasket or seal with a new part is not that difficult. Sometimes things like pine sap or other foreign objects can obstruct the normal movement of a window. You can also clean the gaskets and windows with lacquer thinner to remove caked on rubber and debris.

Wayne’s Automotive Center is here to help!

As you can see, many pieces have to work together seamlessly for a power window to function correctly. We can take for granted that when we press a switch, the window will obey our every command. When windows fail to operate, you can always attempt to troubleshoot yourself, or you can bring your car to an auto repair shop who know exactly how to diagnose and fix power windows. Wayne’s Automotive Center is an advanced auto repair shop in Reno and Sparks. Let us quickly deal with your power window problems so you can once again enjoy the cool breeze while driving around Reno and Sparks.

Financing Available

Cars are complicated; financing shouldn’t be. Besides honoring all major credit cards, debit cards, and cash Wayne’s Automotive also offers a simple path to funding through Synchrony Bank. Applications are available.

Napa Warranty

Wayne’s Automotive Center is a NAPA AutoCare center. As a gold certified shop, all qualifying repair or service work comes with a FREE 3 year/36,000 mile “peace of mind” nationwide warranty through Napa AutoCare.

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(775) 356-6996


55 Coney Island Drive
Sparks, NV 89431

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Hours: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM




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